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May 26, 2011 2:10 PM Rediscovering an interest in jobs

By Steve Benen

For two years, congressional Republicans claimed to be interested in job creation. John Boehner couldn’t do an interview without asking, “Where are the jobs?” Unemployment, it’s safe to say, was the driving factor behind the huge GOP gains in the midterms.

After which, Republicans completely forgot about the issue.

What has the GOP been spending its time on lately? Wasting time on health care bills they know they can’t pass, abortion bills they know they can’t pass, climate bills they know they can’t pass, and budget bills they know they can’t pass. Republicans have also invested considerable energy in accusing Muslim Americans of disloyalty, targeting Planned Parenthood, and going after NPR, when they weren’t threatening to shut down the government and cause a national default.

In April, the House Speaker said his party’s focus would soon change, and the GOP would have a jobs agenda. That was nearly eight weeks ago. Today, after nearly five months in office, Boehner said his party is now ready to take the issue seriously.

Speaker John Boehner on Thursday argued the GOP has been working on the issue of jobs since taking power in January even as he unveiled the party’s first legislative package specifically targeted at job growth.

“A number of economists tell us if we can cut spending it will lead to a better environment for job creation in America,” the Ohio Republican said during a press conference.

Sigh.

I suppose it’s nice that Republicans are finally willing to at least talk about jobs. Up until now, the most notable employment development on Capitol Hill this year was Boehner saying, “So be it” when told his agenda would likely force thousands of Americans from their jobs. That suggests today represents something resembling progress.

It’s hard to delve into too much analysis of the new GOP approach without more details from the members themselves, but the Wall Street Journal reports that the jobs plan includes yet another massive tax cut — lowering the top rate from 35% to 25% — along with a plan to limit taxation of multinational corporations so that they only pay taxes on domestic earnings.

How would the GOP pay for these billions of dollars in tax breaks? Republicans haven’t said. They never do.

In some ways, this should probably be seen as another gift to Democrats. Republicans may not realize this — or maybe they do, and don’t care — but tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires don’t work and aren’t popular. Proposing massive tax giveaways to the rich while also trying to eliminate Medicare really isn’t popular.

So, let’s have the debate. Indeed, if the larger discourse rediscovers the importance of job creation, I’d be delighted. Republicans appear to be presenting warmed-over nonsense — tax cuts, deregulation, oil drilling, taking public investment out of the economy — but at least it’s putting employment on the radar.

If Democrats want to present a less-ridiculous proposal to create jobs to compete against the already-failed agenda of their GOP rivals, that’d be great, too.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Comments

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  • j on May 26, 2011 2:26 PM:

    We all know that tax cuts for the rich is the answer to everything.
    Wonder if the fact that Egypt has opened it's borders with Gaza has anything to do with Netanyahu's stance!

  • jb on May 26, 2011 2:33 PM:

    In my lifetime, and maybe soon, a solid 52%of Americans will realize, once and for all, that Republicans can run terrific campaigns but they cannot govern worth sh#*.

  • penalcolony on May 26, 2011 2:33 PM:

    "A number of economists . . ."

    Hey, lighten up, Political Animal. Zero is a number.

  • Danny on May 26, 2011 2:39 PM:

    This is great. Let the Repubs make the first move get their taxbreaks for millionaires scored by the CBO. Then we offer a common-sense jobs bill for the middle class that costs 10B$ less.

  • bignose on May 26, 2011 2:39 PM:

    "A number of economists tell us if we can cut spending it will lead to a better environment for job creation in America,"

    That number is, like, one.

  • c u n d gulag on May 26, 2011 2:40 PM:

    OY VEY!!!
    Again with the tax cuts and the spending cuts?

    Mein Gott in Himmel!!!
    He's Mehshugana!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • jvwalt on May 26, 2011 2:55 PM:

    It's been obvious for quite a while now that the Republican policy barrel is empty. All they have to offer is tax cuts and spending cuts. That's it.

    So, from Boehner's point of view, the GOP has, indeed, been working on job creation since January. They're giving it all they've got. Which is damn little.

  • JEA on May 26, 2011 2:57 PM:

    Calling this a "JOBS" proposal is an insult to every unemployed person in the US.

  • kevo on May 26, 2011 3:04 PM:

    Already called out by the above observations, but what media was on hand to ask Boehner the exact number of economists, their standing in the field, and whether or not the unmentioned by name economists have caveats in their "support" of D. Stockwell's tinkle on economic theory they call supply side?

    What brave reporter asked an obvious follow up question - crickets - oh, none? Our Beltway press can't find that bus they need to be on. You know, that bus and its route that takes us from the corner of Truth to the Avenue of Power! -Kevo

  • Gandalf on May 26, 2011 3:06 PM:

    Mr Boner please name the economists and cite any evidence, even a tiny shred that supports the assertion that tax cuts will create jobs. Oh by the way the last time you did it IT DIDN'T WORK!

  • T2 on May 26, 2011 3:10 PM:

    "tax cuts, deregulation"

    Ah yes, genius GOP solution to everything. And, of course, it also happens to be the CAUSE of everything (bad). These guys are such transparent losers.

  • Stella Barbone on May 26, 2011 3:17 PM:

    Perhaps those are the same economists who have told them that if they substantially limit women's access to reproductive health care, they will create a better environment for job growth. Yeah, that's it.

  • TCinLA on May 26, 2011 3:30 PM:

    It's amazing, how they really are in lockstep following the Ryan "roadmap." After killing Medicare, his plan has the big corporate/wealth tax cut.

    These guys are even dumber than Alexander Stevens was 150 years ago with his enunciation of "Southernomics" in his "cornerstone speech," and I thought that was pretty damn dumb.

    If you tried to write these idiots in a novel, as fiction, no one would ever believe you.

  • sparky on May 26, 2011 4:27 PM:

    Where does Boehner find economists who think more tax cuts for the wealthy will stimulate job growth? Actually, he didn't have to find them, they came to him. They cane from the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Koch brothers, and I'm sure Grover Norquist sent over a few to help cook the books. This doesn't prove there's any validity in the Boehner theory, but it does prove that even the field of economics is well stocked with whores who'll put personal profit ahead of academic integrity at the drop of a hat. My apologies to any whores who take offense to being included in the same sentence with this group.

  • Schtick on May 26, 2011 4:58 PM:

    If republicans ran a movie house, they would quit selling popcorn and soda with the idea they would make more money and create jobs. How would it create more jobs? They could layoff the people selling the treats and maybe even the person cleaning and then hire a buddy or two in an upper-management position. You don't need to know economics to figure that out.

  • Lance on May 26, 2011 5:21 PM:

    American businesses don't need lower taxes to hire more workers, they need demand for their products. Lowering taxes is not going to give them that demand, it will just raise their profits.

    If you want to increase demand, FIX THE INFRASTRUCTURE! That, and only that, is a government solution to the jobs problem.

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